TEPCO too big to be allowed to fail, analysts say

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  • 13

    Cricky

    Too big a cash cow to fail would be more appropriate. What company found to have faked safety reports, cut corners, ignored expert advice from multiple sources. Endangers its workers, does not even supply adequet safty gear,use dubious recruitment practices, benefits from millions of tax payer dollars, increases its charges to the same tax payers. Pollutes the environment, forces 10s of thousands from their homes, businesses, who are still waiting for just decent shelter 2.5 years latter compensation is proving to difficult. There is more but you get the idea. Now we are told its too big to fail. Obviously most companies with this track record would be dissolved due to the danger it posses to the country. But not TEPCO too many pigs at the trough, can't have the little piggy wiggys go without their cash.

  • -6

    Star-viking

    Cricky,

    ignored expert advice from multiple sources.

    Any references for that?

  • 6

    scoobydoo

    Obviously the Old Boys Club at work here. TEPCO has already failed, they are losing money and the taxpayers are already paying for their greed. I hope Abe gets crucified at the next election since he is a major proponent of there lies and ongoing deception to take money from the victims and give it to the execs of TEPCO and not to mention the government who owns majority. To ad insult to injury TEPCO say if they go bankrupt the Fukushima people will not get compensated but they boasted profits last period but did they send any of that to the victims? Of course not, it was obviously another lie at which they are poor at doing.

  • 2

    Cricky

    Advice? Build the sea wall higher, put the generators on the roof, water proof the electrical system, have staff disaster training actually happen. All these things were mentioned from several sources, I would love to have the time to trawl through the last 2 years of news stories. Maybe someone has them at their finger tips. You must be new to the story, unbelievable isn't it.

  • -3

    Serrano

    "analysts say"

    Hey, the analysts know better than the rest of us.

  • 7

    scoobydoo

    Crikey, in another post I read that GE originaly said the plant should be 20m above sea level but they rejected it due to the extra cost of pumping water to 20m.

  • 6

    nostromo

    Tepco too big to fail??..... depends on your definition of failure but I would say that they have already failed on multiple fronts regarding this disaster...

  • 0

    Mirai Hayashi

    Um...sorry to differ...so-called "analysts"....TEPCO has already FAILED! Let them die, and lets bring in geothermal, wind power and solar energy to replace it.

  • 2

    Cricky

    Quick search found this. The tsunami countermeasures taken when Fukushima Daiichi was designed and sited in the 1960s were considered acceptable in relation to the scientific knowledge then, with low recorded run-up heights for that particular coastline. But through to the 2011 disaster, new scientific knowledge emerged about the likelihood of a large earthquake and resulting major tsunami. However, this did not lead to any major action by either the plant operator, Tepco, or government regulators, notably the Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). The tsunami countermeasures could also have been reviewed in accordance with IAEA guidelines which required taking into account high tsunami levels, but NISA continued to allow the Fukushima plant to operate without sufficient countermeasures, despite clear warnings.

  • -1

    Star-viking

    Cricky,

    The problem with these warnings is that TEPCO did investigate, and found that the 869AD tsunami did not hit the area of the coast around Daiichi. So the expert warning really was not so exact. I also wonder why the experts didn't warn Sendai, where the 869AD tsunami did hit. As for TEPCO's responsiveness to warning, They increased the size of tsunami protection in the early 2000s from around 3 metres to 6 metres in response to new data on Pacific tsunamis.

    A lot of these expert warning are bolstered by hindsight, which was not available to TEPCO or anyone else.

    That said, I agree that IAEA standards should have been used, but as the LDP nor the DPJ were concerned about that I think the blame can be spread around.

  • 3

    Scrote

    Here's what to do:

    Sell off TEPCO's conventional power stations to help pay down some of the debt and pay compensation to Fukushima victims.

    Sell off all TEPCO land and property holdings to pay down more debt and pay more compensation.

    Any remaining debt will go unpaid and bond holders will take the loss.

    Create a new company to manage the power transmission lines, this can later be expanded nationwide in order to separate power generation and power transmission and give consumers a choice of power supplier.

    The government to take over all TEPCO nuclear power stations that aren't destroyed and maybe bring them back into operation in the future.

    Transfer all remaining TEPCO staff to Fukushima to deal with the clean up. No staff will be left in Tokyo.

    TEPCO is no longer a viable business and it should be dissolved as soon as possible. The only reason I can think of for government dithering is related to the bribes/donations paid by TEPCO to politicians and bureaucrats.

  • 3

    bruinfan

    @Scrote

    I agree completely and to add to that..make Shimizu (former president) and other execs serve some time in prison.

  • 2

    inakaRob

    "and lets bring in geothermal, wind power and solar energy to replace it." that is a great idea yes, but one that will cost TRILLIONS of dollars, hundredns of trillions of yen. and decades to realize. Nuclear Japan cost JUST as much and took JUST as long. The wind does not always blow, and as we speak new wind farms may stop being built in the USA beucase it kills too many bats and birds, (bald eagles included and you know how the USA feels about the Bald Eagle) Solar power is great and progress is being made it right now that may double it efficiency by 100X. but its not going to be comerialy ready for probably another decade. Of course we all want these things to become reality. But we have to live in reality. I am not pro-nuclear. that it not what this rant is about. Its just that some of you have to live in reality. We can just make put a solar up over night, for free, that will power the whole country, or even 30% (which is what the nuclear plants USED to supply)

    What you should wish for instead is a for the gov to change legislation to get this going! So many things have to change first. There is basically ZERO money from the Japanese government going into green energy. t

  • 1

    mataka

    Well, as others have already pointed out, the title to the article is ironic since Tepco have failed already on an unprecedented EPIC scale. In addition to some of the suggestions to take action on financial and practical grounds, we also need as a matter of urgency, to explore legal action in the international courts against the company and MOST importantly civil suits against the individuals concerned. From the point of view of justice, the Japanese legal "system" clearly does not work since Shimizu and co. have not been held accountable at all. Why the hell not? Analysts have made it very clear that if the plant bosses had not disobeyed Shimizu at Tepco HQ in March 2011, the situation would have been far worse even than it is now. So, as a matter of urgency we should turn to the international courts. This will pile up the pressure on the J-gov. and make legal proceedings more likely in Japan (however unrealistic this may be at present). Most importantly, cleaning up the Japanese "system" will also make people more accountable in the future reducing the risk of such disasters. This is essential to get justice and to act as a deterrent for the various misdeeds committed. We owe it to those guys who stayed too, including the ones who have already died and been irradiated. Japan (and Tepco as a good example) is plagued with these aging cancers that "run" companies. With the public will against Tepco, this is a good opportunity to take pre-emptive action and bring a much needed attempt of a system of accountability in corporate culture in Japan.

  • 3

    gaijintraveller

    They have already failed. Isn't Fukushima one huge failure? Well, I suppose you could say no as it is an endless series of failures. They have failed and they will fail again.

  • 0

    cloa513

    Where is the bond market chaos- its common knowledge that TEPCO has failed- unless willfully deluding themselves- market traders are always ahead of the loop. Sounds like a load of nonsense- TEPCO bankruptcty will have no consequences.

  • 1

    BernieK

    The title should be Buying Into Failure. Japan has neither saved money nor protected the people from radiation.

  • 0

    Magnet

    Guess they never heard of the saying, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall". It wouldn't be a saying if it didn't hold some truth over the ages... Those 'analysts' are idiots.

  • 2

    Christopher Blackwell

    When a business is said to be too big to fail, it means that it has become a danger to the whole economy and the first thing that should be done is send it into bankruptcy. How else are you going to send a message to business that it is responsible for what it does or does not do and the government will not protect it from its flaws.

    We did the too big to fail trip on the banks that caused our own economy to crash here in the United States and all they did was give huge bonuses to their officials using taxpayers money. Otherwise nothing changed.

    Now in Iceland they did the right thing and put their bank leaders in prison. Their economy recovered quickly and they helped those that were hurt by the banks. That is the only way to make business pay attention.

  • 2

    Frungy

    Too big to fail? Don't be silly. The government already owns a controlling interest. Now start gutting the company. Break the business down into independent sections and where possible into regional blocks, and put those up for auction. Companies interested in getting into the energy business can bid on the whole thing, or regional governments can bid on the power resources for their own area. Then take all the non-energy resources, such as office buildings, land held for "future developments", etc, and auction those off.

    TEPCO has a consolidated equity ratio of 7.5 ...or in other words, it has a ton of assets compared to liabilities. Cutting the company up and selling off those assets could easily resolve the current compensation issues, as well as giving a VERY sharp warning to all the other power companies in Japan, "Don't cut corners or we'll cut you up and sell the pieces". It would also have the beneficial side-effect of introducing some much-needed competition into the Japanese power generation market.

  • 3

    gelendestrasse

    OK, how about we just get rid of all the senior management and replace them with a team of experts from France, the USA, and Germany until the problem is settled.....

    I like Frungy's idea too.

  • 2

    Fadamor

    NO corporation is "too big to fail". You just parcel them out slowly until there is nothing left of the original corporation.

  • 2

    tokyodoumo

    it was a mistake to allow TEPCO to take control of the cleanup without proper GOVT agency directing the cleanup. The leak has been upgraded to Level Three "serious incident" by NRA. Yet Mr. Abe announced everything will be safe and fine in 2020. From top down this county's officials are only concerned abot profits for investors and sponsors who grease the Japan's economy. Public safety is really not their main concern!

  • 1

    Dennis711

    The longer the Government waits the worse the Fukushima problem gets. TEPCO is like a boxer who is out on his feet and just swinging wildly at everything. It's time for this company to go down before they hurt anyone else. And about the failure of TEPCO to take appropriate action to protect the Fukushima power plant, reports after the quake showed the documents (copies of official documents ) that outlined the discrepancies in TEPCO's safety preparation and policies... also many of these were pointed out after the quake in Nigata that caused them to shut that plant down. Before that they were pointed out after employees accidentally released contaminated water, where 2 or three employees died due to the accident or the clean up. This is public record, if you don't just look at Fukushima there are all kinds of failures leading up to the Fukushima power plant problem. When people talk about preventative measures TEPCO could should have taken, it is not hindsight. They should be put down to end the suffering of those who WILL be affected and those who have been affected. I care not about How this effects the investors and debt holders, there are risks in business... all of those people and businesses knew this when they got in bed with TEPCO.

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